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Old 5th May 2019, 01:16 PM   #121
RecoveringYuppy
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_energy_consumption


If I've done my arithmetic correctly total installed energy generation, all uses, not just electricity, for the entire world right now is something around 20 TW "generating" capacity.
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Old 7th May 2019, 07:58 AM   #122
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I really shouldn't have answered the question.

I know the US gets 20 percent of electricity from nuclear power. Whereas in France, they get around 40 to 60 percent of their electricity. France went all in in the 60s, 70s and 80s. And overall it worked for them.

I see the very real possibility that nuclear power "could" solve the global warming possibility. But ONLY if we have the political will and can resolve some technical issues.

Still, the cost and the concerns of nuclear energy has grown. The cost of it has made it prohibitive. 90 percent of those skyrocketing costs revolve around preventing, containing or insuring against a catastrophe.

The problem is nuclear power's attempt to evolve the standard solid fuel and pressurized water coolant reactor. While they might be able to make them a little cheaper to build, they can do little about eliminating the worst case scenario of a rare catastrophe that is possible with pressurized water and solid fuel. That means they almost certainly will continue to be an expensive option.

Molten salt eliminates the need for pressurization. This eliminates the possibility of an explosive event. Any accident would not be catastrophic. The radioactive elements stay within the salt which would freeze outside of the reactor. No massively thick reactor vessels and pipes to contain that highly pressurized water. No massive concrete structures to contain the explosive steam if there is a pipe break. No huge cooling towers required.

Once perfected, they will be as much as 90 percent cheaper to build. That will make them a very attractive competitor to other forms of energy.

Anyway, I recommend you watch this video.

Global Warming vs LFTR- Thorium Energy to fight climate change
https://youtu.be/Vbx_gFT0v7k
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Old 7th May 2019, 08:03 AM   #123
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I know that Germans are ****-scared of the aging French reactors, which had a big number of not insignificant incidents that are known, and probably an even larger number that aren't.

France isn't replacing its reactors, but new reactors are being build in Eastern Europe - and since all grids are connected on the Continent, it's hard to tell what country is actually using what kind of energy.
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Old 7th May 2019, 11:42 AM   #124
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
I know that Germans are ****-scared of the aging French reactors, which had a big number of not insignificant incidents that are known, and probably an even larger number that aren't.

France isn't replacing its reactors, but new reactors are being build in Eastern Europe - and since all grids are connected on the Continent, it's hard to tell what country is actually using what kind of energy.
My bet is France will replace it's reactors. Eventually.

But my point that scientists keep telling us that we are destroying the planet either through global warming or from making our oceans too acidic. This is all because of man-made CO2 emissions. We are warned that if we don't reduce emissions by 4 percent a year we will make the planet uninhabitable for our great great grandchildren. That was back in 2012. Now I'm not a climatologist or a marine biologist, but I believe the warning is serious.
But frankly, the world is not taking the warning seriously.

I also understand that people ARE NOT going to do without unless there is no choice. People may conserve, but only to a point. And those that are poor have no intention of continuing to do without. They want what we have. We're not going to save our way out of the problem.

That means we are going to have to solve the climate problem by creating the cheapest, lowest carbon footprint fuel. Or goodbye human life on the planet.

Nuclear power although not the way it has been employed could save the planet. I don't see solar doing it unless we can create batteries that can store 10 times more energy at 1/10th their current price.

We need to put solving the energy problem on a war time footing. The sense of urgency is lacking. We have to pay the first mover cost of solving the problem. The markets will not do it. It's too risky.

Also, this is likely to be the most disruptive product ever. It will destroy, coal and most of the petroleum industry and it will have a huge downstream effect. If your own wealth and livelihood depends on those industries, you may want to discourage the development of a competitor. Big oil and gas as well as Peabody Coal not to mention the Koch Brothers are not really interested in this.
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Old 7th May 2019, 11:46 AM   #125
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I really don't think that regulations or NIMBYs (not in my backyard) are what's currently holding nuclear power back.
It's that there is no way to build it economically viable.
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Old 7th May 2019, 01:54 PM   #126
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post



It's that there is no way to build it economically viable.


There is one big difference between nuclear and the combination of solar, wind and battery storage.

And it's not cost, they come in at similar costs, although wind, solar and battery storage are trending cheaper.

It's the time it takes to start getting a return on your investment.

Solar wind and battery storage comes on line so much faster that you are making money that much sooner.

10 years of no return on your investment is a hard pill to swallow.
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Old 7th May 2019, 02:52 PM   #127
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The problem with renewables, all except hydroelectric, is base load. By now it is nearly as cheap or cheaper for the first 10%, but that last 10% is ridiculously expensive due to the need for expensive and complicated storage schemes.

The problem with Nuclear is radioactive waste and the high risk of meltdown. We all know how much power nuclear creates and there are several nuclear reactors around the world, but this technology (Thorium Molten-Salt Nuclear Energy) means the nuclear risk is greatly reduced. We can even use the waste from other nuclear reactors as fuel and turn tons of dangerous spent nuclear radioactive material that takes tens of thousands of years to become safe into a few pounds of waste fuel that becomes safe in less than 300 years. It is a major breakthrough.

The problem with both those above is portability. Combined in the right way with Thorium Molten-Salt Nuclear Energy for base load and renewables like Solar, Wind, Geothermal, and Hydroelectric for electrical grid use above that; we do see a way to resolve our electrical grid situation. But transportation is a whole new ballgame. We simply don't have the manufacturing capacity to convert the huge transportation fleet to electric! That's not even discussing things like planes and shipping.

So the real solution to low fossil carbon energy is to grab all the low fruit available quick as we can....and then offset what gets too difficult and/or expensive with regenerative agriculture. Regenerative agriculture can remove both the legacy CO2 from the atmosphere and also offset that last bit of fossil fuel use and make the whole system a net negative CO2 footprint.
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Old 7th May 2019, 04:36 PM   #128
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
I really don't think that regulations or NIMBYs (not in my backyard) are what's currently holding nuclear power back.
It's that there is no way to build it economically viable.
There probably is no way to build today's nuclear reactors that use solid fuel and pressurized water economically. With that I probably agree.

Nuclear reactors are designed to create massive amounts of heat and use pressurized water to remove that heat and drive a steam turbine. The water must be pressurized to keep it liquid at 3 times water's natural boiling point (about 300 degrees Celsius). This is essential to drive the turbine.

But there is the danger. Boilers can explode with too much pressure. If pumps fail the water will turn to steam which expands 1000 times and the boiler can explode. The nature of the solid fuel melting causes the release of the radioactive gases Strontium, Cesium and Iodine. All of which can be deadly. And if that isn't enough of a problem, the zirconium cladding of the fuel rods react with water stripping the hydrogen out if the water which can lead to explosions like at Fukushima and Three Mile Island.

So modern reactors are the most over built facilities in the world. First to prevent an accident and then to contain a possible accident. They have safety systems on top of safety systems on top of safety systems. Each pump and pipe has a backup and the backup has a backup. Fukushima had not just one huge backup generator it had three. Thick 8 inch thick steel walls and pipes and every weld is x-rayed to contain the 80 to 150 atmospheres of pressure from within. Huge containment buildings to contain the radioactive steam if a pipe or the vessel fractures. Not to mention elaborate control rooms to monitor it all.

And almost NONE of that is a danger or necessary with molten salt fueled reactors. They are NOT under pressure. Salt doesn't even begin to melt until it reaches at least a 350 degrees Celsius. There is also no danger of the fuel melting as it too is in liquid form. The reactor vessels might be 1 inch thick at most because there is no pressure to contain. No huge concrete containment buildings as the liquid salt is never ever going to flash to steam. And even if you lose all power and there is runaway heat, the radioactive salt would not explode into the atmosphere, but drain into cooling tanks because the freeze plugs would melt.

When I say once perfected molten salt reactors should be 1/10 of what a traditional water reactor costs to build, I'm not exaggerating. It wouldn't surprise me if it was even cheaper than that.

And while this technology is nowhere near perfected we ABSOLUTELY knows it works. In fact, the molten salt reactor experiment ran for 4 years in the late 60s.
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Old 8th May 2019, 05:58 AM   #129
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
I really shouldn't have answered the question.

I know the US gets 20 percent of electricity from nuclear power. Whereas in France, they get around 40 to 60 percent of their electricity. France went all in in the 60s, 70s and 80s. And overall it worked for them.

I see the very real possibility that nuclear power "could" solve the global warming possibility. But ONLY if we have the political will and can resolve some technical issues.

Still, the cost and the concerns of nuclear energy has grown. The cost of it has made it prohibitive. 90 percent of those skyrocketing costs revolve around preventing, containing or insuring against a catastrophe.

The problem is nuclear power's attempt to evolve the standard solid fuel and pressurized water coolant reactor. While they might be able to make them a little cheaper to build, they can do little about eliminating the worst case scenario of a rare catastrophe that is possible with pressurized water and solid fuel. That means they almost certainly will continue to be an expensive option.

Molten salt eliminates the need for pressurization. This eliminates the possibility of an explosive event. Any accident would not be catastrophic. The radioactive elements stay within the salt which would freeze outside of the reactor. No massively thick reactor vessels and pipes to contain that highly pressurized water. No massive concrete structures to contain the explosive steam if there is a pipe break. No huge cooling towers required.

Once perfected, they will be as much as 90 percent cheaper to build. That will make them a very attractive competitor to other forms of energy.

Anyway, I recommend you watch this video.

Global Warming vs LFTR- Thorium Energy to fight climate change
https://youtu.be/Vbx_gFT0v7k
Thanks for your post and response.
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Old 8th May 2019, 06:08 AM   #130
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While nuclear physicists, agronomists, engineers, etc are all important, economists are king. For the larger picture/question anyway.

Keeping an increase in global temperature to below 1.5C by 2050 (or whatever) should be child's play: introduce a sufficiently robust carbon tax in the EU, the US, China, Japan, India, and Russia (maybe add Brazil). Within the next year.

However, I'm not sure what an economist would suggest to stop the almost total extinction of oceanic shellfish by ~2100 (due to acidification) ... this requires removing vast amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere, starting now (and it may already be too late).
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Old 9th May 2019, 05:24 AM   #131
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Originally Posted by JeanTate View Post
While nuclear physicists, agronomists, engineers, etc are all important, economists are king. For the larger picture/question anyway.

Keeping an increase in global temperature to below 1.5C by 2050 (or whatever) should be child's play: introduce a sufficiently robust carbon tax in the EU, the US, China, Japan, India, and Russia (maybe add Brazil). Within the next year.

However, I'm not sure what an economist would suggest to stop the almost total extinction of oceanic shellfish by ~2100 (due to acidification) ... this requires removing vast amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere, starting now (and it may already be too late).
These economists that are king....... they can't figure out that they simply need to take the money from their brilliant carbon tax and pay to have the carbon sequestered in the ground?
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Old 9th May 2019, 05:25 AM   #132
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Originally Posted by Red Baron Farms View Post
The problem with Nuclear is radioactive waste and the high risk of meltdown.
Are you joking? High risk of meltdown?

As for waste, it's mostly a political problem.
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Old 9th May 2019, 05:32 AM   #133
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Are you joking? High risk of meltdown?

As for waste, it's mostly a political problem.
no
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Old 9th May 2019, 05:38 AM   #134
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Originally Posted by Red Baron Farms View Post
no
Then you're abolutely wrong. Meltdowns are a VERY rare occurance, and with a proper containment vessel, are not a health risk.

As for waste, what other problem do you think they represent? When's the last time we've had a major issue with them?
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Old 9th May 2019, 06:59 AM   #135
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Originally Posted by Red Baron Farms View Post
Quote:
While nuclear physicists, agronomists, engineers, etc are all important, economists are king. For the larger picture/question anyway.

Keeping an increase in global temperature to below 1.5C by 2050 (or whatever) should be child's play: introduce a sufficiently robust carbon tax in the EU, the US, China, Japan, India, and Russia (maybe add Brazil). Within the next year.

However, I'm not sure what an economist would suggest to stop the almost total extinction of oceanic shellfish by ~2100 (due to acidification) ... this requires removing vast amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere, starting now (and it may already be too late).
These economists that are king....... they can't figure out that they simply need to take the money from their brilliant carbon tax and pay to have the carbon sequestered in the ground?
I'm not an economist, but that's not how a carbon tax would work (at least, not the kind my post refers to).

The objective would be to reduce the net CO2 emissions (yeah, they're not all "emissions", but good enough term at this level) sufficiently to keep the temperature increase below 1.5C. While such a tax would certainly raise some revenue, and that revenue could certainly be used for carbon sequestration (details would be highly contentious though), it would be very inefficient.

Take an example: suppose you operate a manufacturing facility; suppose you can determine your "carbon footprint" (net CO2 emissions) objectively and robustly. A carbon tax pushes you to lower that footprint; if you become "carbon neutral" you would pay no (carbon) tax, so no $$ for any carbon sequestration.

How about a 'central grid' electricity utility? A carbon tax would push it to shut down its fossil fuel plants, and invest in renewables/nuclear/negawatts/whatever.

What about beef farmer? This is something you know far better than I do! A carbon tax may lead such a farmer to start a forest; the retail price of beef would very likely rise, leading to a fall in demand (perhaps the farmer diversifies by adding chicken?); perhaps a product/service becomes available, one which sequesters a lot more carbon through changes in soil management.
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Old 9th May 2019, 10:01 AM   #136
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Then you're abolutely wrong. Meltdowns are a VERY rare occurance, and with a proper containment vessel, are not a health risk.

As for waste, what other problem do you think they represent? When's the last time we've had a major issue with them?
A meltdown is impossible with molten salt. It's already melted.

The cost of a proper containment vessel for liquid cooled solid fuel reactors is one of the reasons a nuclear reactor costs so much to build.
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Old 9th May 2019, 10:08 AM   #137
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Nuclear Power Plants are like commercial airliners:

every time something when wrong on one of them, all where upgrades to make such a mishap less likely in the future.
As a result, safety has layers upon layers that make everything more complicated, more expensive, harder to build, requiring more training to operate and maintain.

Like the 737 max 8, there comes a point where burdening an old design with new features doesn't work anymore, and a ground-up re-design is required.

And, of course, we have to expect and accept that such new reactors will have their share of incidents over time, too.
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Old 9th May 2019, 10:09 AM   #138
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
A meltdown is impossible with molten salt. It's already melted.
I was talking about regular reactors.
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Old 9th May 2019, 03:31 PM   #139
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
I've convinced every single person I've talked to on the subject. The problem is that not enough people know the facts. They think they know what's going on. I get why it frightens people. It use to frighten me.

But the more I've studied, the more I realize we've been ******* up. We've been absurdly irrational on this issue. The great thing about this is we can blame the left and the right for being stupid and wrong on this.

Global warming is a problem and we're not going to solve it with solar. We're just not. But we might be able to solve it with nuclear and solar.
True, strictly speaking you are not "talking to" me; however, so far, you have not convinced me.
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Old 9th May 2019, 03:39 PM   #140
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
<snip>

90 percent of those skyrocketing costs revolve around preventing, containing or insuring against a catastrophe.

The problem is nuclear power's attempt to evolve the standard solid fuel and pressurized water coolant reactor. While they might be able to make them a little cheaper to build, they can do little about eliminating the worst case scenario of a rare catastrophe that is possible with pressurized water and solid fuel. That means they almost certainly will continue to be an expensive option.

Molten salt eliminates the need for pressurization. This eliminates the possibility of an explosive event.<snip>
This is one part I do not understand; can you clarify please?

In particular, how does the (heat) energy in the molten salt get turned into electricity?

Also, does the molten salt react with water, if so, how? Ditto oxygen (or nitrogen for that matter).

Quote:
Any accident would not be catastrophic. The radioactive elements stay within the salt which would freeze outside of the reactor.
Why?

More later.
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Old 9th May 2019, 03:44 PM   #141
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
I was talking about regular reactors.
I know you were.
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Old 9th May 2019, 04:22 PM   #142
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Originally Posted by JeanTate View Post
I'm not an economist, but that's not how a carbon tax would work (at least, not the kind my post refers to).

The objective would be to reduce the net CO2 emissions (yeah, they're not all "emissions", but good enough term at this level) sufficiently to keep the temperature increase below 1.5C. While such a tax would certainly raise some revenue, and that revenue could certainly be used for carbon sequestration (details would be highly contentious though), it would be very inefficient.

Take an example: suppose you operate a manufacturing facility; suppose you can determine your "carbon footprint" (net CO2 emissions) objectively and robustly. A carbon tax pushes you to lower that footprint; if you become "carbon neutral" you would pay no (carbon) tax, so no $$ for any carbon sequestration.
BINGO! We have a winner. Not sure why you think this is inefficient though. It is EXACTLY the dynamic we are trying to obtain. ie balance the carbon cycle in order to stop AGW. You have just explain why all the other carbon taxes and cap and trade markets have all so far failed, and why the proposed carbon market I have talked about will actually self regulate the carbon cycle and succeed, by using the market as a proxie for ecosystem function!

Originally Posted by JeanTate View Post
How about a 'central grid' electricity utility? A carbon tax would push it to shut down its fossil fuel plants, and invest in renewables/nuclear/negawatts/whatever.
yes. Or at least shut down its coal plants to replace with natural gas at 1/2 the emissions rate, until they can be replaced by nuclear.

Originally Posted by JeanTate View Post
What about beef farmer? This is something you know far better than I do! A carbon tax may lead such a farmer to start a forest; the retail price of beef would very likely rise, leading to a fall in demand (perhaps the farmer diversifies by adding chicken?); perhaps a product/service becomes available, one which sequesters a lot more carbon through changes in soil management.
Actually the beef farmer would be far better off planting his cornfields in prairie and raising the cows on grass instead of finishing them in feedlots on corn and silage.

Grazing to improve soil health, producer profits
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Old 9th May 2019, 05:32 PM   #143
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Originally Posted by Red Baron Farms View Post
Actually the beef farmer would be far better off planting his cornfields in prairie and raising the cows on grass instead of finishing them in feedlots on corn and silage.
The beef farmer might, but the corn grower wouldn't.

Agricultural subsidy: United States
Quote:
Corn was the top crop for subsidy payments prior to 2011. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 mandated that billions of gallons of ethanol be blended into vehicle fuel each year, guaranteeing demand, but US corn ethanol subsidies were between $5.5 billion and $7.3 billion per year. Producers also benefited from a federal subsidy of 51 cents per gallon, additional state subsidies, and federal crop subsidies that had brought the total to 85 cents per gallon or more. However, the federal ethanol subsidy expired December 31, 2011.[21] (US corn-ethanol producers were shielded from competition from cheaper Brazilian sugarcane-ethanol by a 54-cent-per-gallon tariff; however, that tariff also expired December 31, 2011.
Corn growers need that beef market! And the subsidies that go with it...

Agricultural Subsidies
Quote:
The largest farm subsidy program is crop insurance run by the USDA's Risk Management Agency. Spending on the program has averaged more than $8 billion a year over the past five years, up from around $3 billion in the early 2000s.8

The program subsidizes both the insurance premiums of farmers and the administrative costs of the 16 private insurance companies that offer the policies. Over the past five years, spending has averaged $6.7 billion a year in premium subsidies, $1.5 billion for insurance company subsidies, $0.3 billion for underwriting losses, and $0.2 billion for federal administrative costs.

Subsidized insurance is available for more than 100 crops, but corn, cotton, soybeans, and wheat are the main ones...

As for farmers, the USDA pays 62 percent of their premiums, on average. Most farmers actually make money on this so-called insurance, receiving more in claims than they pay in premiums. The Congressional Budget Office found that farmers have received $65 billion more in claims than they have paid in premiums since 2000.14 As Babcock noted, this program is not "insurance" at all...
We don't need a carbon tax, we just need the government to stop encouraging bad farming practices. But we won't of course, because everybody (from the President down) likes overeating cheap unhealthy food. Our shortsighted greed and gluttony is killing us, so it would be fitting for global warming to eventually finish us off - because we deserve it.
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Old 9th May 2019, 06:19 PM   #144
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Originally Posted by JeanTate View Post
This is one part I do not understand; can you clarify please
Explosions can occur basically in two ways with a traditional reactor.

The first way is that increasing the water temperature increases the internal pressure. As long as the reactor is air tight (which they are designed to be) the water stays a liquid. But the hotter it gets the greater the internal pressure. The circulating water inside a normally operating Nuclear (boiler) reactor is 300 degrees and up. The pressure inside is between 1500 PSI to 2300 PSI. But if you can't keep removing that heat the pressure will keep increasing to a point where something has to give.
Like too much air in a balloon.

The second way that there can be an explosion is because the hydrogen atoms separates from the oxygen atoms in the water (H2O)and a spark ignites it. And just in case you didn't know you can't really have a nuclear explosion. Still these other kinds of explosions could still release radioactive elements into the atmosphere.

Molten Salts cannot explode because

1. They are not under pressure. You can increase the temperature to 1500 degrees and the pressure would still be at around 14.7 lbs inside the reactor.

2. Salt molecules are stable and won't explode. No explosive hydrogen

A safety feature of molten salt reactors is something called a freeze plug. Basically a hole or or holes in the bottom of the reactor that has a fan blowing a cool gas over it. If the electricity fails, the fan stops, the plugs would melt causing the radioactive reactor salts to empty into cooling tanks. Walk away safe.

Originally Posted by JeanTate View Post
In particular, how does the (heat) energy in the molten salt get turned into electricity?
The same way it does in a pressurized water reactor. Instead of circulating hot water through heat exchangers you circulate hot liquid salt through them. That salt on your dinner table is frozen, just like ice. Heat it up to 400 degrees plus Celsius and it melts, looks like and flows like water.

You could use water as the secondary coolant in the heat exchanger and that could drive a turbine or you could use supercritical CO2 to drive the turbine.

Originally Posted by JeanTate View Post
Also, does the molten salt react with water, if so, how? Ditto oxygen (or nitrogen for that matter). Any accident would not be catastrophic.
The radioactive elements stay within the salt which would freeze outside of the reactor.
I don't think it would. Sodium alone does. But neither would be inside the reactor. Just liquid salt and the fuel which is added to the salt.

Originally Posted by JeanTate View Post

Originally Posted by acbytesla
Any accident would not be catastrophic. The radioactive elements stay within the salt which would freeze outside of the reactor.
Why?
They stay in the salt. They wouldn't transform into a gas. The reaction stops and when the salt cools it returns to its solid state. So instead of clouds filled with radioactive elements being blown by the wind, you get a pool of hot radioactive liquid salt that would turn into radioactive stone. Like a tiny lava flow freezing into basalt. It's still deadly if you get too close, but we're talking yards not 5 to a hundred miles.
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Old 9th May 2019, 07:25 PM   #145
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Originally Posted by Roger Ramjets View Post

We don't need a carbon tax, we just need the government to stop encouraging bad farming practices. But we won't of course, because everybody (from the President down) likes overeating cheap unhealthy food. Our shortsighted greed and gluttony is killing us, so it would be fitting for global warming to eventually finish us off - because we deserve it.
In principle I agree. We certainly might be able to simply eliminate the current farm subsidies and that might be enough to shift it back to prairie by simply driving the vast majority of corn farmers out of business. But that would be a chaotic mess done in an uncontrolled manner like that. Eventually it would all work out, but between now and then we have major problems.

However if we use the carbon fee and subsidy to replace the current farm subsidies, and make it merit driven by measured carbon increases in the soil.....then in effect we would change from a system that pays farmers for bad farming practices, to instead paying them for a badly needed service, and helping fund the conversion of 2/3rds the corn acreage to prairie raising animals.
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Old 10th May 2019, 06:57 AM   #146
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First, thanks for your lengthy response.
Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
Explosions can occur basically in two ways with a traditional reactor.

The first way is that increasing the water temperature increases the internal pressure. As long as the reactor is air tight (which they are designed to be) the water stays a liquid. But the hotter it gets the greater the internal pressure. The circulating water inside a normally operating Nuclear (boiler) reactor is 300 degrees and up. The pressure inside is between 1500 PSI to 2300 PSI. But if you can't keep removing that heat the pressure will keep increasing to a point where something has to give.
Like too much air in a balloon.

The second way that there can be an explosion is because the hydrogen atoms separates from the oxygen atoms in the water (H2O)and a spark ignites it. And just in case you didn't know you can't really have a nuclear explosion. Still these other kinds of explosions could still release radioactive elements into the atmosphere.
That may be so, or it may not. Its relevance to my question is, however, essentially zero. I want to understand stuff about molten salt reactors, as explained by you.

Quote:
Molten Salts cannot explode because

1. They are not under pressure. You can increase the temperature to 1500 degrees and the pressure would still be at around 14.7 lbs inside the reactor.

2. Salt molecules are stable and won't explode. No explosive hydrogen

A safety feature of molten salt reactors is something called a freeze plug. Basically a hole or or holes in the bottom of the reactor that has a fan blowing a cool gas over it. If the electricity fails, the fan stops, the plugs would melt causing the radioactive reactor salts to empty into cooling tanks. Walk away safe.

Quote:
In particular, how does the (heat) energy in the molten salt get turned into electricity?
The same way it does in a pressurized water reactor. Instead of circulating hot water through heat exchangers you circulate hot liquid salt through them. That salt on your dinner table is frozen, just like ice. Heat it up to 400 degrees plus Celsius and it melts, looks like and flows like water.

You could use water as the secondary coolant in the heat exchanger and that could drive a turbine or you could use supercritical CO2 to drive the turbine.

Quote:
Also, does the molten salt react with water, if so, how? Ditto oxygen (or nitrogen for that matter). Any accident would not be catastrophic.
The radioactive elements stay within the salt which would freeze outside of the reactor.
I don't think it would. Sodium alone does. But neither would be inside the reactor. Just liquid salt and the fuel which is added to the salt.
Quote:
Quote:
Any accident would not be catastrophic. The radioactive elements stay within the salt which would freeze outside of the reactor.
Why?
They stay in the salt. They wouldn't transform into a gas. The reaction stops and when the salt cools it returns to its solid state. So instead of clouds filled with radioactive elements being blown by the wind, you get a pool of hot radioactive liquid salt that would turn into radioactive stone. Like a tiny lava flow freezing into basalt. It's still deadly if you get too close, but we're talking yards not 5 to a hundred miles.
Clearly I need to back up a bit, and make sure we're on the same page.

As I understand it, the term "molten salt reactor" (MSR) is quite general. In particular, reactors in which the "molten salt" is a coolant only, and ones in which it is both fuel and coolant, are MSRs. Have I got it right?

Also, as you note, while electricity is generated by circulating a working fluid through a turbine, MSRs can have a secondary circuit (the molten salt exchanges heat with a different working fluid, in a heat exchanger), or not (the molten salt itself is the working fluid). Have I got it right?

The "salt" in an MSR can vary quite a bit; clearly the "salt" in an MSR in which the molten salt is both fuel and coolant is different from that in one in which it is a coolant only. Have I got it right?

Can you say more about the various salts please?
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Old 10th May 2019, 07:16 AM   #147
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Originally Posted by Red Baron Farms View Post
BINGO! We have a winner. Not sure why you think this is inefficient though.
Cross-purposes.

A carbon tax, of the kind I mentioned, would be very inefficient for removing carbon from the atmosphere, because it acts to push economic actors to reduce net carbon emissions to zero (or some level much below current).

To avoid ocean acidification to the point of wiping out almost all oceanic shellfish, the level of CO2 in the atmosphere needs to be reduced. Quite a lot (and it may be too late anyway).

Quote:
It is EXACTLY the dynamic we are trying to obtain. ie balance the carbon cycle in order to stop AGW. You have just explain why all the other carbon taxes and cap and trade markets have all so far failed,
First, "cap and trade" is inefficient, compared with a carbon tax.

Second, a carbon tax to keep global temperature rise to below 1.5C by 2030 (say) needs to be far more widely (and rigorously) applied than hithertofore. And far bigger.

Quote:
and why the proposed carbon market I have talked about will actually self regulate the carbon cycle and succeed, by using the market as a proxie for
ecosystem function!
One terrific feature of a robust carbon tax is that it leaves the "how" of getting to zero net carbon emission up to each economic actor. And we know that technical answers to "how" are already widely known, for almost all types of economic activity; and the marketplace will quite quickly and efficiently find good answers. Directing some of the revenue raised by a carbon tax to R&D on various "how"s might be warranted in some cases, but by far the best thing to do is use the revenue to reduce other forms of taxation.

Quote:
yes. Or at least shut down its coal plants to replace with natural gas at 1/2 the emissions rate, until they can be replaced by nuclear.

Actually the beef farmer would be far better off planting his cornfields in prairie and raising the cows on grass instead of finishing them in feedlots on corn and silage.

Grazing to improve soil health, producer profits
Maybe. Maybe not.

The key points are a) there are lots of ideas floating around, b) not all central grid electricity utilities (or beef farmers) are the same.
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Old 10th May 2019, 08:58 AM   #148
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Originally Posted by JeanTate View Post
First, thanks for your lengthy response.

That may be so, or it may not. Its relevance to my question is, however, essentially zero. I want to understand stuff about molten salt reactors, as explained by you.
I realize that. But I wanted to explain generally the dangers that are inherent using water.

Originally Posted by JeanTate View Post
Clearly I need to back up a bit, and make sure we're on the same page.

As I understand it, the term "molten salt reactor" (MSR) is quite general. In particular, reactors in which the "molten salt" is a coolant only, and ones in which it is both fuel and coolant, are MSRs. Have I got it right?
Yes

Originally Posted by JeanTate View Post
Also, as you note, while electricity is generated by circulating a working fluid through a turbine, MSRs can have a secondary circuit (the molten salt exchanges heat with a different working fluid, in a heat exchanger), or not (the molten salt itself is the working fluid). Have I got it right?
Yes. And the secondary working fluid could also be a salt

Originally Posted by JeanTate View Post
The "salt" in an MSR can vary quite a bit; clearly the "salt" in an MSR in which the molten salt is both fuel and coolant is different from that in one in which it is a coolant only. Have I got it right?
You seemed to understand this. There are probably at least 20 different general designs for the use of molten salt in reactors. But most of them are on paper and have never been built. Some propose to continue to use solid fuels and just use molten salt as the primary coolant and some where the fuel is mixed into the salt. The Molten Salt Reactor Experiment that ran for 4 years in the late 60s at Oak Ridge Tennessee had the fuel mixed into the circulating salt.

Originally Posted by JeanTate View Post

Can you say more about the various salts please?
The chemistry of the salts proposed vary tremendously and that is one aspect that needs to be understood better. Getting it and the materials just right. Some salts have much hotter melting points, some are more or less corrosive to different materials. Some react differently to the neutron bombardment. There is a lot of work being done and to be done testing various salts. Most commonly proposed are chloride and fluoride salts particularly Flibe which is a fluoride lithium beryllium mixture.

I'm not a chemist or a nuclear engineer. I understand this all to a point. But if you are interested, trying looking up "molten salt reactor chemistry" on YouTube (lots of good videos)

Thanks for your interest. :
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Old 10th May 2019, 10:48 AM   #149
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Originally Posted by JeanTate View Post
Cross-purposes.

A carbon tax, of the kind I mentioned, would be very inefficient for removing carbon from the atmosphere, because it acts to push economic actors to reduce net carbon emissions to zero (or some level much below current).

To avoid ocean acidification to the point of wiping out almost all oceanic shellfish, the level of CO2 in the atmosphere needs to be reduced. Quite a lot (and it may be too late anyway).
Killing two birds with one stone is not inefficient cross purposes working against each other! Instead it is dual purposes working in very efficient harmony together! There is a huge difference.

And yes the tax of the kind you mentioned would be inefficient at actually removing CO2 from the atmosphere. However, the dividend structure I mentioned corrects this shortfall. That was my point.


Originally Posted by JeanTate View Post
First, "cap and trade" is inefficient, compared with a carbon tax.
Compared with everything.

Originally Posted by JeanTate View Post
Second, a carbon tax to keep global temperature rise to below 1.5C by 2030 (say) needs to be far more widely (and rigorously) applied than hithertofore. And far bigger.
yes


Originally Posted by JeanTate View Post
One terrific feature of a robust carbon tax is that it leaves the "how" of getting to zero net carbon emission up to each economic actor. And we know that technical answers to "how" are already widely known, for almost all types of economic activity; and the marketplace will quite quickly and efficiently find good answers.
100% agreed. And the exact same dynamic for sequestration will also apply to a robust verified dividend.



Originally Posted by JeanTate View Post
Directing some of the revenue raised by a carbon tax to R&D on various "how"s might be warranted in some cases, but by far the best thing to do is use the revenue to reduce other forms of taxation.
Which my proposal would do by eliminating the entire current farm bill subsidies on excess grain production.


Originally Posted by JeanTate View Post
Maybe. Maybe not.
Not maybe, certainly.

Originally Posted by JeanTate View Post
The key points are a) there are lots of ideas floating around, b) not all central grid electricity utilities (or beef farmers) are the same.
Exactly and a robust tax combined with a robust verified dividend for sequestration will make winners out of those sectors of the economy with the least emissions and the most sequestration, and losers out of those refusing to change to more advanced balanced carbon technologies.
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Old 10th May 2019, 10:57 AM   #150
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Originally Posted by Red Baron Farms View Post
Killing two birds with one stone is not inefficient cross purposes working against each other! Instead it is dual purposes working in very efficient harmony together! There is a huge difference.

And yes the tax of the kind you mentioned would be inefficient at actually removing CO2 from the atmosphere. However, the dividend structure I mentioned corrects this shortfall. That was my point.


Compared with everything.

yes


100% agreed. And the exact same dynamic for sequestration will also apply to a robust verified dividend.



Which my proposal would do by eliminating the entire current farm bill subsidies on excess grain production.


Not maybe, certainly.

Exactly and a robust tax combined with a robust verified dividend for sequestration will make winners out of those sectors of the economy with the least emissions and the most sequestration, and losers out of those refusing to change to more advanced balanced carbon technologies.
You do understand that this thread is about nuclear power. Just checking.
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Old 10th May 2019, 11:10 AM   #151
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
You do understand that this thread is about nuclear power. Just checking.
agreed and in fact the beginning of my post "Killing two birds with one stone is not inefficient cross purposes working against each other! Instead it is dual purposes working in very efficient harmony together! There is a huge difference. " refers directly to this.

The rest of course was simply answering Jean Tate's doubts with some reassurance.
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Old 10th May 2019, 11:15 AM   #152
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Originally Posted by Red Baron Farms View Post
agreed and in fact the beginning of my post "Killing two birds with one stone is not inefficient cross purposes working against each other! Instead it is dual purposes working in very efficient harmony together! There is a huge difference. " refers directly to this.

The rest of course was simply answering Jean Tate's doubts with some reassurance.
I don't mind really. I've never really made a big deal out of tangents.
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Old 10th May 2019, 11:19 AM   #153
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
You do understand that this thread is about nuclear power. Just checking.
Yeah, RBF and I really should be having this discussion over in the Solution to Anthropogenic Climate Change? thread. Thanks for the reminder.
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Old 10th May 2019, 11:54 AM   #154
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Thanks.
Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
<snip>
Quote:
Also, as you note, while electricity is generated by circulating a working fluid through a turbine, MSRs can have a secondary circuit (the molten salt exchanges heat with a different working fluid, in a heat exchanger), or not (the molten salt itself is the working fluid). Have I got it right?
Yes. And the secondary working fluid could also be a salt
So in MSRs where the secondary circuit uses pressurized steam, say, nasty explosions can happen (catastrophic failure of a main pipe, say), right?

Are there exothermic reactions if a molten salt coolant (with or without fuel) gets mixed with ~400C steam under pressure (as when a catastrophic failure occurs within the heat exchanger itself)?

Quote:
Quote:
The "salt" in an MSR can vary quite a bit; clearly the "salt" in an MSR in which the molten salt is both fuel and coolant is different from that in one in which it is a coolant only. Have I got it right?
You seemed to understand this. There are probably at least 20 different general designs for the use of molten salt in reactors. But most of them are on paper and have never been built. Some propose to continue to use solid fuels and just use molten salt as the primary coolant and some where the fuel is mixed into the salt. The Molten Salt Reactor Experiment that ran for 4 years in the late 60s at Oak Ridge Tennessee had the fuel mixed into the circulating salt.
In an MSR where the molten salt coolant and fuel are separate, do fission products get into the liquid too?

So, in an MSR where the salt is both coolant and fuel, the fission products get mixed into the liquid, right?

Also, in this latter case, is the molten salt kept liquid by heat generated by fission? Solely? or only in part (if so, what is the other source of heat)?

How does an MSR (of the latter kind) get started? For example, is the coolant/fuel salt heated externally then piped into the reactor?

Quote:
Quote:
Can you say more about the various salts please?
The chemistry of the salts proposed vary tremendously and that is one aspect that needs to be understood better. Getting it and the materials just right. Some salts have much hotter melting points, some are more or less corrosive to different materials. Some react differently to the neutron bombardment. There is a lot of work being done and to be done testing various salts. Most commonly proposed are chloride and fluoride salts particularly Flibe which is a fluoride lithium beryllium mixture.
OMG!

Be is one nasty, nasty element! Should a salt containing Be somehow get aerosolized, wow, mandatory evacuations!

Also, whether the molten salt is coolant only or coolant+fuel, if it contains Li there's a nasty explosion risk, right? I mean, Li+neutrons=tritium (an isotope of hydrogen), right?

Quote:
I'm not a chemist or a nuclear engineer. I understand this all to a point. But if you are interested, trying looking up "molten salt reactor chemistry" on YouTube (lots of good videos)

Thanks for your interest. :
Indeed. However, you are the only proponent of MSRs, in this thread at least. So I'm looking to you to answer my questions.

PS I HATE YouTube! Not only for its lack of independent verification and validation, but also for Google's nasty habit of tracking me.
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Old 10th May 2019, 01:30 PM   #155
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Originally Posted by JeanTate View Post
Thanks.
So in MSRs where the secondary circuit uses pressurized steam, say, nasty explosions can happen (catastrophic failure of a main pipe, say), right?
The secondary or tertiary circuits are not in contact with radioactive elements. Yes a steam pipe in that circuit could burst due to pressure but I'm guessing they would have pressure relief valves.

Originally Posted by JeanTate View Post

Are there exothermic reactions if a molten salt coolant (with or without fuel) gets mixed with ~400C steam under pressure (as when a catastrophic failure occurs within the heat exchanger itself)?
I don't know. But I don't really believe this is a major issue.
Originally Posted by JeanTate View Post
In an MSR where the molten salt coolant and fuel are separate, do fission products get into the liquid too?
I'm assuming you mean where the designs would continue to use a solid fuel and have salt circulate around a solid fuel. The answer is some do.

Originally Posted by JeanTate View Post
So, in an MSR where the salt is both coolant and fuel, the fission products get mixed into the liquid, right
Yes. And that is a big feature in most of the designs. A traditional reactor requires periodic shutdowns to refuel. An MSR allows you to add fuel on a regular basis.
Originally Posted by JeanTate View Post

Also, in this latter case, is the molten salt kept liquid by heat generated by fission? Solely? or only in part (if so, what is the other source of heat)?

How does an MSR (of the latter kind) get started? For example, is the coolant/fuel salt heated externally then piped into the reactor?
These are excellent questions that I don't know the answers to at this moment. Fission would be what keeps it hot but I don't know how they start it exactly.

Originally Posted by JeanTate View Post
OMG!

Be is one nasty, nasty element! Should a salt containing Be somehow get aerosolized, wow, mandatory evacuations!

Also, whether the molten salt is coolant only or coolant+fuel, if it contains Li there's a nasty explosion risk, right? I mean, Li+neutrons=tritium (an isotope of hydrogen), right?
There doesn't seem to be much of a concern of it becoming aerosolized. But Tritium has been mentioned as a potential issue with FLIBE. But a form of it was used in the MSRE and tritium wasn't a substantial problem. You seem to understand this very well.

But this was just one salt mixture. I think they like it because it has a low melting point.
Originally Posted by JeanTate View Post
Indeed. However, you are the only proponent of MSRs, in this thread at least. So I'm looking to you to answer my questions.
I'm doing my best.

Originally Posted by JeanTate View Post
PS I HATE YouTube! Not only for its lack of independent verification and validation, but also for Google's nasty habit of tracking me.
I love YouTube. I've learned so much about so many different things. It's like the rest of the Internet with good intelligent videos and others that aren't. I hate the videos where people drone on without getting to the point. You have to take the information with a grain of salt.
I've watched almost every video that has been published about Molten Salt Reactors and Thorium as well as reading as much as possible about it. I've been looking for information that busts this balloon. But I haven't heard it yet. Below is the 1970s Oak Ridge Laboratory documentary on the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment. It's pretty technical.
YouTube Video This video is not hosted by the ISF. The ISF can not be held responsible for the suitability or legality of this material. By clicking the link below you agree to view content from an external website.
I AGREE



There is at least 20 new startups working on using molten salt in some way with future reactors. Using the thorium fuel cycle seems be highly desirable as well. But a lot of these companies want to just start with molten salt and work their way into using Thorium.
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Old 19th May 2019, 01:55 PM   #156
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Here is relevant commentary by the former head of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
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Old 21st May 2019, 01:01 AM   #157
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Originally Posted by SezMe View Post
Here is relevant commentary by the former head of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Quote:
Despite working in the industry for more than a decade, I now believe that nuclear power’s benefits are no longer enough to risk the welfare of people living near these plants...

Could what happened in Japan happen elsewhere? This accident consumed my work at the NRC for the next six months. I assured the public of the safety of U.S. plants... But I also promised to thoroughly review the safety measures we had in place and to swiftly implement any necessary reforms the agency identified... I ultimately prevailed, but then the lobbying intensified: The industry almost immediately started pushing back on the staff report. They lobbied the commission and enlisted allies in Congress to disapprove, water down or defer many of the recommendations....

History shows that the expense involved in nuclear power will never change. Past construction in the United States exhibited similar cost increases throughout the design, engineering and construction process. The technology and the safety needs are just too complex and demanding to translate into a facility that is simple to design and build. No matter your views on nuclear power in principle, no one can afford to pay this much for two electricity plants. New nuclear is simply off the table in the United States.
But...
Quote:
I’ve now made alternative energy development my new career, leaving nuclear power behind.
Clearly this misguided soul has become a shill for the 'alternative energy' brigade, so his views can safely be dismissed.
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Old 21st May 2019, 01:13 AM   #158
wobs
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Originally Posted by SezMe View Post
Here is relevant commentary by the former head of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
He went into the role from an anti-nuclear view point.
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Old 21st May 2019, 02:12 AM   #159
Kestrel
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Originally Posted by wobs View Post
He went into the role from an anti-nuclear view point.
Part of the problem at Fukushima was cultural. The plant operators assumed that the original designers thought of everything. They didn’t have contingency plans for the loss of the backup generators.

Similar plants in the United States have equipment, plans and staff training to deal with that scenario. This was not part of the original design. It was a safety improvement that was done later.

Newer modular reactor designs with passive cooling systems don’t have the problem.
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Old 21st May 2019, 07:07 AM   #160
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Originally Posted by Kestrel View Post
Part of the problem at Fukushima was cultural. The plant operators assumed that the original designers thought of everything. They didn’t have contingency plans for the loss of the backup generators.

Similar plants in the United States have equipment, plans and staff training to deal with that scenario. This was not part of the original design. It was a safety improvement that was done later.

Newer modular reactor designs with passive cooling systems don’t have the problem.
If you want to replace fossil fuels with nuclear, countries far less competent than Japan will be running/regulating nuclear power so expect even larger mistakes being the norm in an “all nuclear” scenario.

Also, we’ve been repeatedly told in this thread that the reason why Nuclear power is so expensive is that it’s held to too high a standard and consider too many different scenarios wrt to the possibility of an accident. If standards were lowered, how do we know US plants would not have all the same vulnerabilities as Fukushima? It seems like there is some double counting going on, with the safety provided by high standards and rigours consideration of all possible failures being touted, while at the same time we are being told this an unnecessary cost.

Ultimately though, no matter how much precaution you’ll never completely eliminate unforeseen events compounded by multiple human and/or equipment failures that lead to a major incident. Even once in a million year events start to become relatively common if you scale up Nuclear to the degree necessary to replace fossil fuels. At some point even near perfect designs are like to succumb to human error or neglect.


To me that’s why I see nuclear as a transitionary technology not the final landing spot. I certainly have an open mind to new types of reactors, but without a finalized commercial design we can’t even begin the work of looking at real cost so we can compare their economic viability or how they can fail so we can implement the safety standards needed to run hundreds of thousands of them for centuries without major incidents.
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